9 out of 10 car buyers opt for automatics

Public news

Since 2008, the proportion of vehicles sold with manual transmissions has seen a rapid decrease.

Figures reveal 10 years ago, Australians bought 304,000 vehicles fitted with manual transmissions. In 2017, Australians bought just 122,000 vehicles fitted with manual transmissions.

Commercial vehicles remain the highest uptake of vehicles fitted with manual transmissions however even here the proportion of commercial vehicles with manual transmissions sold has gone from one-third automatics in 2008 to one-third manuals in 2018. Even amongst those looking for a sports car or high powered exotic car are turning to an automatic transmission, a stark contrast to the past when a manual transmission was the go-to for the motor sports enthusiast.

Small car buyers are the main reason for declines in this change of preference. However, despite the average manual transmission vehicle being $1000 to $2500 cheaper than the automatic version, these cars are far outselling their manual counterparts.

Rapid changes in technology and ease of use are luring younger drivers towards automatic vehicles. As torque converters become more advanced, fuel economy has been increasing among every day run about vehicles.

With the emergence of electric vehicles, which tend not to have any gearbox at all, the day will likely soon arrive where the manual transmission will be a relic of the past, and used in only a select few vehicles.